Thursday, April 17, 2014
With the completion of another successful, although wet, Maine Amateur, the sponsoring Maine State Golf Association already has lined up the next three sites for the tournament.
Next year the tournament will be at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth. In 2015 the tournament moves to central Maine and Waterville Country Club, and in 2016 the tournament will be at York Golf and Tennis.
RICKY JONES will savor his third title as he prepares for the U.S. Public Links tournament. Jones leaves Friday for his fourth Publinks national tournament, run by the United States Golf Association. It will be at Laurel Hill Country Club in Lorton, Va.
Jones has made the match play portion in two of his three Publinks tournaments.
Jones said he still gets butterflies on the first tee in the Maine Amateur. He did again Thursday but it didn't show; he knocked his tee shot long, down the left side of the fairway.
His second shot, though, might have shown some nerves: He hit it thin and into the rough just off the green.
Facing a slick, downhill chip, Jones deftly put the ball 6 feet away and made the par putt. It was a good thing, because his closest challengers, Tommy Stirling and Ryan Gay, birdied the hole.
Jones said the most nervous he's been on the first tee was in the 2007 U.S. Amateur at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Jones was playing against Dustin Johnson, who soon became a PGA Tour player, in the Round of 64.
"There were about 100 people around the tee," said Jones.
And by the way, Jones beat Johnson in match play.
IT POURED A COUPLE times during the final round. Jones had only one golf shirt, so during the rain delay he went into the Augusta Country Club pro shop and bought a shirt with the course logo on one sleeve.
A Maine State Golf Association official informed the lead group of Jones, Stirling and Gay as they headed to the green at No. 9 that play was suspended.
The golfers retreated to the clubhouse during a 45-minute delay as officials tended to a few holes, most notably the par-4 11th.
Several holes had large pools of standing water down the fairways.
"I went in, changed my shirt, dried off, got my rain gear out of the car and headed back out," said Jones. "I basically tried to stay in my own game."
JONES HAD a good quip while waiting to hit his second shot on the par-4 13th hole. Playing in the group ahead was Mark Plummer, who beat Jones in match play the last time the state amateur was held at Augusta and often finished ahead of a younger Jones in various tournaments.
Jones watched Plummer sink a birdie putt, then take it out of the cup.
"I've seen that walk before," said Jones.
TWO-TIME CHAMPION Ron Brown Jr. caddied for Tommy Stirling in the final round. Both work at the Golf and Ski Warehouse in Scarborough. In fact, the Golf and Ski Warehouse had six players in the tournament.
"Ron helped me keep my composure and gave me good reads on putts," said Stirling. "He was a big help."
THE CONFLUENCE of the 14th and 15th holes is a great place to watch the action at Augusta. Groups often get backed up because of the narrow tree-lined 14th, a par-4, and the par-3 15th.
On Thursday in the final groups, there was a combined four threesomes on those holes.
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:
Kennebec Journal writer Bill Stewart contributed to this report.